Spring in Minnesota is a time of hope and renewal, when the slightest glimmer of edible green — a handful of ramps or chives, for
example — is a major psychological victory. Now that frost is gone until October (barring the fading possibility of a catastrophic backslide), we turn our minds to the opening of farmer’s markets and the resulting goodies that we’ll be able to put onto our tables.
The marketing-savvy Mill City Farmers Market held an event last night at Spoonriver to celebrate its upcoming opening day (May 8) and some of the market’s newer gastronomic attractions. Thus, in the spirit of spring, some of the edible previews we sampled.
1. Goat Cheese from Singing Hills Dairy
Singing Hills Dairy is a new operation — cleared to sell cheese as of late last year, the goat farm has 17 of its own animals and also uses milk from a neighbor’s herd of an additional 40 goats. We sampled a clean, fresh-tasting plain chevre and a charmingly mellow herbes de provence chevre. The dairy will also sell grade A goat milk, kefir, feta, and — down the road — a goat interpretation of Finnish juustoleipa.
2. Spoonriver Spring Salad
Spoonriver chefs Heather Hartman and Nick Schneider will be doing regular food demos at the Mill City Market; for last night’s preview, Schneider made a pea shoot / chive / chervil salad with pepitos that transcended its own simplicity — the greens (in part from Burning River Farm) were lively, crisp, and joyfully vivid.
Another tidbit: Schneider plans to host a monthly dinner series this summer featuring food from a rotation of Italian regions that may include Piedmont, Liguria, Parma, Sicily, and Emilia-Romagna. The four-course meals are slated to cost $45 a person — more details as we get them.
3. Cabbage Potato Curry from Curry Lane
Curry Lane will be combining imported Nepalese and Indian spices with seasonal, local veggies in its curries; the curry we sampled had a warming touch of heat and and a satisfying depth of spice.
4. Spoonriver “Nutella” and Strawberry Crepe
Housemade Nutella-style spread and finely chopped strawberries are classic combination; Spoonriver will bring this and a variety of other crepe choices to the market priced at $3.50-5.
5. Sonny’s Passion Fruit Sorbet
Holy. Cow. Like an injection of passion fruit directly to the pleasure center of the brain.